Criminal Offenses

          In Ohio, crimes are divided into two categories:  misdemeanors and felonies.  Felony offenses are the most serious, and can range from death penalty murder to simple theft.  Death Penalty Murder, Aggravated Murder and Murder are special classification felonies and the potential punishment for each offense includes death (for death penalty murder) and life without parole.  Conviction for forcible rape of a child under the age of 13 results in a sentence of life without parole.  Other felony offenses are classified according to the offense level involved.   A list of offense levels, and possible punishments, are set out below.

          Whether the charge is a felony or a misdemeanor, you are permitted to have an attorney assist you.  Because of the wide range of potential punishments, and the complexity of criminal cases, I believe that you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before you make any decisions regarding your criminal case.  Conviction of a crime may carry with it collateral consequences like the loss of the right to vote, loss of the right to possess a firearm, and, for non-citizens, could result in deportation proceedings.  Don't take a chance.  For a free half-hour consultation, contact me at (614) 224-4114 or email your question to me at RCline@AttorneyCline.com.

Felony Offenses

F1

Felony of the First Degree.  Maximum punishment is 10 years in prison.  There is a presumption that prison term should be imposed. Minimum prison term is 3 years.  I am unaware of any circumstance where a defendant would be eligible for "Community Control Sanction", or probation, on a first degree felony.  Typical first degree felony offenses would include manslaughter, rape, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and some drug or theft offenses.

F2

Felony of the Second Degree.  Maximum punishment is 8 years in prison.  There is a presumption that a prison term should be imposed.  Minimum prison term is 2 years.  A defendant is eligible for "Community Control Sanction", or probation, on some, but not all, second degree felonies. Typical second degree felony offenses would include robbery, burglary, felonious assault, and some drug or theft offenses.

F3

Felony of the Third Degree.  Maximum punishment is 5 years in prison.  There is no presumption in favor of or against a prison term.  Minimum prison term that may be imposed is 1 year.  A defendant is eligible for "Community Control Sanction", or probation, on most, but not all,  third degree felonies.  Typical third degree felony offenses would include gross sexual imposition, aggravated assault against a peace officer, aggravated vehicular homicide, reckless homicide, many drug offenses and some theft offenses. 

F4

Felony of the Fourth Degree. Maximum punishment is 18 months in prison.  There is a presumption in favor of "Community Control Sanction", or probation, but the judge may impose a prison term.  Typical fourth degree felony offenses would include aggravated assault, most theft offenses, and some drug offenses.

F5

Felony of the Fifth Degree.  Maximum punishment is 12 months in prison.  There is a presumption in favor of "Community Control Sanction", or probation, but the judge may impose a prison term.  Typical fifth degree felony offenses include drug abuse, some theft offenses, and felony drunk driving.

Misdemeanor Offenses

(All misdemeanor offenses are eligible for "Community Control Sanction" or probation, but some are subject to mandatory minimum sentence).

M1

First Degree Misdemeanor.  Maximum punishment is 180 days in jail.  Typical first degree misdemeanor offenses include assault, domestic violence, drunk driving (OVI), petty theft, and vehicular homicide.

M2

Second Degree Misdemeanor.  Maximum sentence is 90 days in jail.  Typical second degree misdemeanor offenses include obstructing official business, an attempted petty theft, and some traffic offenses.

M3

Third Degree Misdemeanor.  Maximum sentence is 60 days in jail.  Typical third degree misdemeanor offenses include menacing and negligent assault.

M4

Fourth Degree Misdemeanor.  Maximum sentence is 30 days in jail.  Typical fourth degree misdemeanor offenses include persistent disorderly conduct, public indecency, and reckless driving.

MM

Minor Misdemeanor.  Maximum sentence is fine of $150.00 and 30 hours of community service.  Most traffic violations and disorderly conduct charges are minor misdemeanor offenses. 

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